Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting Ready for the 2015 Virginia General Assembly Session: Do You Know Who Your Two Representatives Are? Have You Introduced Yourself to Them? Have You Signed Up to Receive Their Newsletters?

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly session begins in just 8 weeks, the second Wednesday of January. 

The annual Virginia General Assembly is where new State laws are proposed, debated, voted on and passed onto the Governor. 

2015 will be a short session (30 calendar days) as opposed to even years (60 calendar days).

Last November, I posted How a Bill Becomes a Law in Virginia it outlines the process of a bill moving through the Virginia Legislature as well as the short and long session differences.

Filing of bills for the 2015 session started early (because it’s a short session) back on July 21st 2014 whereas last year it began in November. As of today there are NO bills against RSO’s........ that will change very quickly! After all, 7 out of the last 10 Virginia General Assemblies the #1 Bill Submissions requiring a Fiscal Impact Statement were “Sex Offender” bills.

In early December I will create a 2015 Virginia General Assembly page (see Directory on right side of screen) this is where I’ll post all relevant bills to this platform and I will update the bills status daily or weekly.

All General Assembly Action Alerts will be in posts (not in a page) so you’ll see them as soon as you visit this blog.  

During the 2015 session I will post numerous Action Alerts for everyone to act upon and many times there will be less than 24 hours notice of a bill being heard and my Action Alert posting.  

In December I will also create a 2015 Virginia General Assembly Committee page (see Directory on right side of screen) this will have the email address and Richmond office phone numbers for the lawmakers assigned to the Committees that hold hearings on bills and then vote to either “kill the bill” or move it forward to the full chamber for a vote. These are the Legislators who I’ll be asking you to contact on particular bills in Action Items in addition to your one Virginia House and one Senate member. 

I have already designed and ordered the following handouts for the 2015 session:
  1. September 2014 -Legal Do’s and Don’ts Brochure
  2. October 2014 - Building a Better Registry Brochure
Do you know who your current State Delegate and Senator are? 

Delegates and Senators listen to their constituents and they know if you’re a registered voter or not and if you are a voter then they listen much more intently. You should introduce yourself to them this month either via email or with a phone call. 

The General Assembly Building is at the corner of 9th St. and Broad St in Richmond, VA 23219, behind the Capitol. 

Senate Legislative Information and Constituent Services    - 804-698-1470 or 888-892-6948
House of Delegates Information and Public Relations           - 804-698-1470 or 877-391-FACT 

You can track proposed bills (legislation) as they are posted and move through the process two ways.
1.  Virginia General Assembly Website,
Bills are post almost immediately on this website. 

 Sign up for Lobbyist-in-a-Box Service: 

a)  You may track up to 5 bills in one Lobbyist-in-a-Box "profile" without a fee. You can also sign-up for email notification triggered by the bill sponsor when bill is referred to a House or Senate Committee or bill contains specific key word(s), phrases, or Code section(s). 

b)  A subscription to Lobbyist-in-a-Box with an unlimited quantity of bills also offers the ability to create multiple profiles, each containing bill lists and notification options. The cost of this service is $400 for state agencies and $600 for all other subscribers 

Note: I’ve tracked bills, hearings and votes for 6 sessions (2009-2014) without paying for this service. You can stay current and informed without spending this excessive amount. -Mary Devoy 

Email notification triggers an email when bills are sponsored by a member of the General Assembly, referred to a House or Senate Committee or contain specific key word(s), phrases, or Code section(s). 

Lobbyist-in-a-Box Guidelines, 

Review Past Virginia Sessions (1994-2013) Legislation, 

Sign up now, before session even begins so you can adjust your settings and get used to checking on bills. 

2.   Richmond Sunlight Website 

Usually R.S. starts posting bills after January 1st, on the R.S. website you can post comments publically and you can create your own list of bills to track for no charge. But there is no email notification for bills being posted, assigned to a committee and placed on a hearing docket, any amendments or bill movement. You must remember to check each bill everyday with this site.

If want to stay up-to-date on this blog for Action Alerts you can sign up for newsfeeds via Posts (Atom) , netvibe Google and My Yahoo. I removed the email sign-up from this blog months ago because Feedburner would send out email’s for 4 weeks and then stop for no reason for 6-10 weeks and then start up again for no reason and only work for another 3 or 4 weeks.  

If you would like share Posts or Action Alerts with other people just go to the bottom of the specific post you would like to share and you’ll see a row of icons. You can email the post to friends or family, you can share it on Facebook or Twitter or if you have a blog of your own you can re-blog the post. 

Take few minutes this week to find out who your Delegate and Senator are, introduce yourself to them, save their Richmond contact information (for when they arrive in Richmond on January 14th) somewhere you can easily access it during G.A. session, also decide how and if you plan on tracking bills during session and if you want to follow this blog. Then you can enjoy the holidays knowing you haven’t missed any alerts or bills in the interim and you’ll be ready when Virginia session begins on January 14, 2014. 

Thank you. 

Mary Devoy